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In the first part of this series, we told you how Managed Service Providers (MSPs) could boost their income by adding migration services to their Office 365 offering. In this blog, we’re going to focus on the migration plan. This brief guide explains how to build a solid plan to ensure your clients have a successful migration to Office 365. Take a look.

Next blog: The Best Methods to Migrate Your Clients to Office 365

Each migration is different and you have to be ready for a few wrinkles along the way. In some cases, migration problems can lead to disruptions that can last anywhere from two minutes to two days. For example, some mailboxes may contain corrupted messages and migrating this data to Office 365  could take longer than you bargained for. What will you do when something goes wrong? How will you make sure your customer thinks that migrating to Office 365 is still the best bet for his business? By having a good migration plan you can deal with problems as they occur and get back on track as quickly as possible. Your client will also feel more confident about your ability to do the job.

Key steps of a good migration plan

It’s time to build your plan. Where do you start? Here are some of the basic steps to keep in mind:

1. Build a user and device map

Which devices does your client use? Answering this question will help you decide which employees should have access to Office 365. The device map should include PCs, Macs, servers, tablets and smartphones. The interface for Office 365 doesn’t change much over devices which means your client’s employees probably won’t need additional training for different devices or operating systems.

2. Identity and Authentication

Many organizations have trouble moving to Office 365 because of identity and management access issues. If your clients have a local Windows Active Directory domain, they can use synchronization and/or federation options for single sign-on access. This means by using their domain accounts, they’ll be able to access Office 365 with a single set of credentials.

3. Special content

Does your client have any special content or customizations that will be difficult to migrate? For example, he might have added a lot of custom code to SharePoint over the years. If his system has been running for a while, he might not even be aware of which customizations are running and who built them. Remind him that not all customizations can be successfully migrated to Office 365. You should also ask him to take inventory of his content to decide how much of it is worth migrating to a new system. Customizations and content should be an important part of your migration service proposal. Spelling things out clearly will help you avoid nasty surprises once the migration starts.

4. Choose the right migration type

It’s important to select the migration type that is best suited to your client’s organization. There are four basic types: Cutover, Staged, Hybrid and Third-Party. We’ll take a closer look at these migration types in the next blog.

5. Test the migration process

Planning is one of the most important aspects of the entire migration. You have to test and verify each step. If you don’t explore various scenarios, you run the risk of developing problems when it’s too late. Consider these questions: How are you going to test the data? Who will test and evaluate it? Start with a test migration that involves just a few users. This will give you a better idea of what will work and how to deal with potential roadblocks. Based on your results, you can build a more detailed schedule for the complete migration. Above all, remember to stay flexible.

6. Communicate with your client

Make sure your client is always aware of what’s happening as the migration progresses. If something goes wrong, explain what happened and how you plan to fix it. Many issues can arise, such as lack of collaboration, inaccurate information or even poor system design. You probably worked out a series of budget and scheduling constraints before the migration began. You might have to rethink that process. Talk to your client and make sure he understands and approves of what you’re doing.

Stay flexible

So, there you have it; the reseller’s ultimate guide to migrating clients to Office 365. As you start working on your migration plan, just remember to stay flexible. As we’ve told you, things change quickly during data migration and you have to be ready to deal with the unexpected.

Of course, you can always call on a cloud service provider for help. SherWeb has migrated more than 50,000 organizations during the last 15 years. Our dedicated team of experts can guarantee seamless migration and onboarding for any on-premises or cloud-based system.

In the third and final blog in this series, we’ll take a more in-depth look at the different ways clients’ data can be migrated to Office 365. Stay tuned.


Want to learn more about the best way to migrate your client’s data to Office 365? Download our free guide.

Discover how Service Providers can Successfully Migrate Customers to Office 365

Written by Mathieu Leblanc Business Development and Partner Network Director @ Sherweb

Mathieu Leblanc is Sherweb's Partner Network Director. His extensive experience in the field helps him pinpoint upcoming trends that matter to MSPs and IT consultants.